14 Year-Old Tayloni Mazyck, Paralyzed in Brooklyn Gang Shooting, Inspires at her Middle School Graduation

“I won today. Today I am a winner,” she said to a standing ovation. “My mishap does not define me. It does not limit me, it just helps the fighter in me stay alive.”

On May 31, 2013, Tayloni was waiting for her aunt outside her Bedford-Stuyvesant building when a stray bullet hit her chin and lodged in her spine. In that instant, Tayloni, just 11, lost the use of her legs.

Tayloni’s parents said she had to overcome shyness. Now, only a few years later, they see huge improvements in her overall demeanor and she is much more outgoing.

“She used to like to stay in the house, she was scared to go out,” Mazyck’s mother, Priscilla Samuel, told The News. “Now she’s going out with friends and everything. That’s the biggest change.”

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Dad Robert Mazyck said Tayloni’s prom was an especially heartwarming moment and a milestone.  “She had on a white dress and it covered the chair like a big Cinderella dress, like a chariot,” the proud dad said. “It was like when she was moving she was floating. It looked like a cloud.”

Tayloni, who hopes to become a malpractice lawyer, will attend the High School for Law, Advocacy and Community Justice in the fall.

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